Namaqualand Diamonds Centenary 2025

In 1908 the first diamonds were discovered along the west coast of southern Africa at Kolmanskop near Luderitz. This led to the subsequent discovery of the rich diamond deposits mined by Consolidated Diamond Mines along what is now the Namibian Coastline.

It was not until 1925 that the first diamond was discovered (Jack Carstens) in Namaqualand on the Port Nolloth Reserve. Shortly thereafter, concentrated prospecting operations began between The Cliffs north of Port Nolloth and the Orange River estuary with only minor activity taking place to the south towards Kleinzee. In 1926, the rich deposits at Alexander Bay were discovered (Hans Merensky). These deposits proved so rich that in 1927 the Government prohibited all further diamond prospecting on state-owned land in Namaqualand.

During this time prospecting operations at Kleinzee were laying the foundation for what was to become the De Beers Namaqualand Mines. In 1928 the South African Government started mining operations at Alexander Bay (now Alexkor). Later diamonds were also discovered and mined elsewhere along the vast coastline.

It was not until 1954 that the first offshore diamond prospecting was started and between 1961 and 1965, a Texan entrepreneur (Sam Collins) through the Marine Diamond Corporation (now De Beers Marine) gave the impetus needed for geological exploration on the continental shelf by exploiting diamonds offshore along the coastline of then South West Africa.

This has manifested itself into a growing industry with diamonds having been discovered and mined in the nearshore and offshore environments along the coastline from south of the Olifants River in South Africa to some 120km north of Hottentots Bay in Namibia

Join us in celebrating some 100 years of diamonds on the West Coast of South Africa – the people, the science, the history, the environment and the geology – where did the diamonds come from, how did they get there and where did they go to?  A conference (with oral and poster presentations) and associated field trip (s) are planned for 11-20 March 2025 – Save the Date.

First Circular and Call for Papers

Please submit your abstract for a paper/poster in the attached (Word) format by Friday 28 June 2024.

    • Email your abstract to Dr Tania R Marshall (
    • Include in your email whether you prefer an oral or poster presentation (we will try to accommodate your preference, but should we receive too many applications for oral presentations, we may request that a poster be presented instead).  The final decision will be made by the scientific committee.
    • Also indicate if you will submit a full peer-reviewed paper for this conference or if you will be doing a stand-alone presentation (oral or poster).
    • Indicate in your email whether you are a student (and include your University and degree for which you are currently registered)


  • The technical sessions will be held at the LETATSI LODGE & CONFERENCE VENUE in Vanrhynsdorp. 


Confirmed Sponsors


Special Issue of the South African Journal of Geology (SAJG)

It is planned to publish as many as possible of the papers presented at this conference in a Special Issue of the SAJG.  More specific details will be provided in due time, but prospective authors are requested to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Journal. Please note that all submissions to the Journal must be scientific in nature, as opposed to purely technical reports.

Preliminary Programme and Fieldtrip information

Pre-Conference site visit (Monday 10th March 2025)

  • Details still TBC

Technical/Scientific Sessions

Tuesday 11th March

  • Arrive at the Conference Venue (Letsatsi Lodge in Vanrhynsdorp).
  • Own transport and accommodation arrangements.
  • Icebreaker function

Wednesday 12th March

  • Technical session
  • Poster session and finger supper

Thursday 13th March

  • Technical Session
  • Dinner

Post Conference Fieldtrip

The field trip has a maximum capacity of 40 persons. Transport from Vanrhynsdorp, accommodation, dinner & breakfast; packed lunches included in the field-trip cost.

Friday 14th March

  • Quaggaskop/De Punt
  • Overnight at Vanrhynsdorp (own arrangements)

Saturday 15th March – Thursday 20th March

  • Based at the Port Nolloth Country Club.
  • Site visits are planned to the following historic locations (access will be subject to prevailing circumstances and security arrangements, and may change due to unexpected conditions)
    • Hondeklip Bay/Kooingnaas, Alexkor, Kleinzee/Buffels River, LOR alluvial deposits and Oranjemund.
  • The field trip will end at Vanrhynsdorp on the evening of 20th March. Delegates will need to arrange their own accommodation for the evening and transport onward.

Photograph Competition

All delegates are invited to submit up to three photographs for the photo competition. Photographs should showcase the wide variety of the Southern African West Coast scenery (geological, diamonds, social, historical, impact, etc).

Winners will be announced at the closing of the conference. Prizes will be given, including having your photo used as the cover page for Geobulletin.

Click here for details.


Tania Marshall (Chair of the Organising Committee) and Loni Gallant (Chair of the Sponsorship Committee) can be contacted on